Articles

My Conscience is Captive to the Word of God

1 My CONSCIENCE is CAPTIVE to the WORD of GOD

Captive to the Word of God

2021 marks the 500th anniversary of Professor Martin Luther’s bold stand before the Emperor with his momentous speech: “Unless I am convinced by Scripture, or by clear reasoning, that I am in error – for popes and councils have often erred and contradicted themselves – I cannot recant, for I am subject to the Scriptures I have quoted; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. It is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against one’s conscience. Here I stand! I cannot do otherwise. So help me God. Amen.”

 

Here I Stand

In this courageous stand, Professor Martin Luther planted the seeds for the foundational principles which made Western civilisation the most free and most productive in the history of the world. In this short and powerful message, is encapsulated the principles of: Freedom of Conscience; Freedom of Speech; Freedom of Thought; Freedom of Opinion; Freedom of Association; Freedom of the Press; Freedom of Worship and all the other freedoms which are absolutely essential for a free and productive society.

 

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My Conscience is captive - GDL 3D magazine

 

Lex Rex

It also encapsulated the principles of constitutionalism, Lex Rex, the Law is king. Not rule by rulers, but rule by Law. Not the opinions and prejudices of political leaders, but what is written.

 

Liberty and Justice

Martin Luther’s bold and brave stand was a dramatic resistance to totalitarianism. It led to the Reformation principles of the priesthood of all believers, equality before the law, separation of powers and checks and balances. Because of the depravity and fallibility of man, no one person, or group of people, can be trusted to have unrestricted power. All authority is limited authority, delegated by God and answerable to God. The principles of written laws, based upon God’s Law, as the foundation for a free and just society were spelled out in many other publications by the Protestant Reformers.

 

Luther Monument in DresdenEssential Foundations for Freedom

One cannot have freedom without freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of opinion, freedom of the press, freedom of association and freedom of movement. No law is valid if it violates God’s Law. The Word of God is the solid rock foundation for freedom and justice.

 

Examples of Conviction of Conscience in the Bible

The Bible gives examples of conviction of sin when individuals came to recognise that their conscience bore testimony that they had violated God’s Law:

 

Joseph’s Brothers Recognised their Guilt in Betraying Him into Slavery

“Then they said to one another, ‘We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us and we would not hear; therefore, this distress has come upon us’” Genesis 42:21

 

Pharaoh Admitted His Wickedness

“And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron and said to them, ‘I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous and my people and I are wicked.’” Exodus 9:27

 

Ezra’s Prayer of National Repentance

“And I said: ‘O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.’” Ezra 9:6

 

Conviction of Sin and Repentance in the Psalms

“For innumerable evils have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head; therefore, my heart fails me.” Psalm 40:12

 

Worms bridgeBelshazzar – “Weighed in the Balances and Found Wanting!”

“Then the king’s countenance changed and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.” Daniel 5:6

 

The Scribes and the Pharisees were Condemned by their own Conscience

“Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone and the woman standing in the midst.” John 8:9

 

Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

“Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, ‘Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.’” Acts 23:1

 

God’s Law is Written in our Hearts

“Who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” Romans 2:15

 

Does your Conscience Bear Witness in the Holy Spirit?

“I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 9:1

 

For Conscience’ Sake

“Therefore, you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.” Romans 13:5

 

The Testimony of Our Conscience

“…the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God and more abundantly toward you.” 2 Corinthians 1:12

 

In the Fear of God

“Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:11

 

Love from a Pure Heart, a Good Conscience and from Sincere Faith

“Now, the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and from sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

 

Rejecting Faith and a Good Conscience Leads to Shipwreck

“Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the Faith have suffered shipwreck.” 1 Timothy 1:19

 

Where Luther made his stand 1521Faith with a Pure Conscience

“Holding the mystery of the Faith with a pure conscience.” 1 Timothy 3:9

 

Conscience Cleansed by the Atonement of Christ

“How much more shall the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

 

Draw Near to God in Full Assurance of Faith

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22

 

A Good Conscience in all Matters Desiring to Live Honourably

“Pray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honourably.” Hebrews 13:18

 

To Suffer Wrongfully Because of Conscience Towards God is Commendable

“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” 1 Peter 2:19

 

Expect to be Defamed and Reviled for Being True to Your Conscience

“Having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” 1 Peter 3:16

 

Our Conscience Must be Captive to the Word of God

From these Scriptures, it should be clear that our conscience must be informed, taught and discipled by the Word of God. Regeneration is essential. Our conscience needs to be led by the Holy Spirit. We need to fear God and have our conscience cleansed by the Redemption of Christ. “They shall be My people and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.” Jeremiah 32:38-40

 

Renewed Hearts and Minds

“…I will put My Law in their minds and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people.” 2 Jeremiah 31:33

 

The Objective and The Subjective

One’s conscience is like a compass. Mountain climbers and explorers will find a compass invaluable. However, a compass on its own may not be very helpful. Direction alone is not enough. For the compass to be helpful in finding one’s way to the desired destination, one needs a map and a correct understanding of where one is in reference to that map. A compass is symbolic of our conscience. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12.

 

Reformation Monument in WormsCompass, Map and Cairns

Compasses can be interfered with by magnets and our conscience can also be confused by misinformation, indoctrination, or a false perspective. That is why as a compass needs a map, so our conscience needs the Bible. When hiking, a cairn, landmarks often built with a pile of stones, as trail markers serve as objective points of reference often with a signboard. If we are hiking and find the cairn declaring to us that we are at a location that we thought we were far away from, it is the cairn that is to be taken as objective reality. Our subjective opinions need to give way when confronted with objective reality. “Thus, says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see and ask for the old paths, where the good way is and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls… Also, I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’…” Jeremiah 6:16-17

 

Facts are Stubborn Things

Facts do not care about your feelings. Truth does not fear investigation. Just as a mountain climber needs a map and objective landmarks, such as cairns, to inform his decisions, so our conscience needs to be taught by the Bible, the Word of God and be alert to the objective landmarks, especially the Law of God, to guide us in our decisions and discipleship. “To the Law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

 

Here I Stand Truth Conquers

God is a God of Truth. We need to be people of integrity. We need to be true to our Christian calling and Biblical conviction maintaining a good conscience and integrity in how we live, what we believe and how we behave. “…contend earnestly for the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3

 

Taking Every Thought Captive

“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 

Dr. Peter Hammond

 

STANDING for TRUTH in a FAKE WORLD

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So much of the world we live in is fake. It is not just fake news, but fake history, fake education, fake people, fake genders, fake marriages, fake families, fake candidates, fake votes, fake elections, fake pandemics, fake gospels, fake healings, fake miracles, fake faith and fake churches.

 

Deception Brings Bondage

We are warned that satan “… will go out to deceive the nations…” Revelation 20:8

 

Worms plaqueRecognise the Devices of satan

The Bible warns us “Lest satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” 2 Corinthians 2:11

 

Deception Corrupts Minds

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

 

Nations are Being Deceived

The Scripture tell us that “…satan, who deceives the whole world…” Revelation 12:9. Plainly, satan is deceiving nations today.

 

Lawlessness and Lying

The Scripture warns us of “…the lawless one…  according to the working of satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders…” 2 Thessalonians 2:9

 

Deception Leads to Disobedience

“…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Ephesians 2:2

 

Reformation 500 Conference posterBlinded Minds Need the Light of the Gospel

“Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine on them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

To End satanic Deception

In the Book of Revelation, we are told that at the end God will send an Angel to bind satan “…so that he should deceive the nations no more…” Revelation 20:3

 

Do You Like Being Lied To?

We are being subjected to the most pervasive tsunami of disinformation in history. This included Hollywood’s pattern of distortion of history, the many myths and legends propagated in school textbooks, half-truths, distractions, glaring omissions, selective focus, fictional incidents, imaginary anecdotes, prejudicial language, stereo-typical characterisations, inverted reality, manipulating emotions, politically correct parrot cries, stock phrases and mantras to demonise the victims and to justify aggression, trivialising the main issues, ignoring key issues, focussing on side issues and reinforcing deceit with manufactured versions of the past. There is no such thing as a harmless lie. All lies bring bondage. Propaganda kills. “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

 

Truth Does Not Fear Investigation

We need to understand the context of our history, be discerning and rediscover the real facts, the real people and the real history, so that we may counter satan’s deceptions of the nations. “These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbour; give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace.” Zechariah 8:16

 

Facts are Stubborn Things

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

 

Dr. Peter Hammond

Gospel Defence League

P.O. Box 36129

Glosderry 7702

Cape Town South Africa

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www.GospelDefenceLeague.org

 

Upcoming Events

Reformation 500 Conference

This year marks the 500th anniversary of Professor Martin Luther’s bold stand before the Emperor, 18 April 1521. The Reformation Society will be hosting a Reformation 500 Conference on Saturday, 17 April from 9 am to 4 pm in Cape Town. The theme will be Conscience Captive to the Word of God. The conference will also be livestreamed.

 

Reformation 500 Celebration Service

On Sunday, 18 April, on the 500th anniversary of Professor Martin Luther’s stand, we will be conducting a Reformation 500 Celebration service at 10 am. This service will also be livestreamed. “…contend earnestly for the Faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3

 



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